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25 Old Country Sayings And What They Mean

Updated on September 8, 2020
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Tim is a freelance writer, poet, artist and storyteller. He always tries to find and include lessons for everyone in his writing.

Old Country Sayings

I was born in the southern part of West Virginia. As a child we moved to Pennsylvania but spent a lot of our summers going back to visit family members. While visiting West Virginia I heard a lot of “old country expressions,” like getting your groceries sacked not bagged and asking for a bottle of pop.

These were also a lot more of these, “old country sayings,” I grew up hearing many times over the course of my lifetime. Some of these sayings may still be used by many new parents who heard them as children. I still use some of them. Here are 25 ”old country sayings and there meanings.

Stephen Walker
Stephen Walker | Source

1. "If the good Lord don’t come and the creek don’t rise, or “If the Good Lord is willing and the creek don't rise."

An example of the usage of this saying: “Hey Harold is your garden going to come in good this year?" Harold’s answer of course, “If the good Lord don't come and the creek don’t rise.” Of course Harold could’ve simply answered, “Yeah, I think so.”

2. "I’ve got something stuck in my crawl."

A saying mostly used when someone has a problem with you and is about to tell you what they have against you. It is also used by someone if they have a problem in general like a beef about the government or any other topic.

An example, ”I’ve got something stuck in my crawl about the way taxes keep going up.”

3. "You made your bed now sleep in it..."

In other words you created the problem on your own now you're going to have to figure out a solution to the problem.

An example of the use of this phrase might be if you got in trouble and seek advice from someone. They would answer, "You made your bed now you have to sleep in it."

4. "He had a conniption fit or don’t have a conniption fit"

The definition of a conniption fit is when you freak out about something minor. Like the time you forgot to tell you wife something important and she had a conniption fit about it.

5. "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”

The meaning behind this saying is kind of prophetic. If you keep giving and giving to someone they will no longer have the desire to do things for themselves.


6. "Were you born in a barn?"

In other words shut the door when you come in. I always wanted to come back with my own phrase, "I always assumed I was born in a hospital." In stead I just answered,"No, mom." and shut the door.

7. "Keep your room spik and span"

Loosely translated your room looks a mess, how about stop what you're doing and clean it up.

8. "I swear…."

Two word which were meant to add emphasis to any phrase. Here are some examples. "I swear the price of milk keeps going up.", "I swear I raised you better than this." The list is endless.

9. "I’m so mad I could spit."

All I remember about this phrase was if someone used it about you, you'd better find out why they were mad.

10. "You’d make a better door than window."

The meaning of this saying is kind of obvious. You're blocking someone's view of the TV or a girl on the beach, so move.

11. "I got a hankering for..."

A simple little phrase which means you're hungry for something. "I got a hankering for pizza." or "I got a hankering to do nothing all day>"

12. "Use your head for something more...

Usually the ending is, "more than a hat rack..." In other words someone is trying to tell God gave you a brain so it is time to use that brain.

13. "I’ll study on it…"

Usually this phrase is used to let you know the answer to whatever the question is not going to be yes.

"Can I get a dog?",

I'll study on it." Or

"Dear you need to get the bedroom painted."

"OK, I'll study on it."

14. "Slower than molasses in January."

I don't know much about molasses in January but I assume it runs slow judging by this old country phrase. What the person using this phrase is obviously trying to tell you is that you're moving too slowly for their liking.

15. "You ain’t got a lick of sense."

Simply explained think before you act. An example might be, "Why'd you jump your bike over the ramp and break your arm. Don't you have a lick of sense?"

Mauve W
Mauve W | Source

16. "You didn’t eat enough to keep a bird alive."

A Southern saying which when translated means, “I made all this food and you’re going to darn well eat more than you have on your plate.”

17. "I’m goin’ whole hog tonight.”

A phrase used when you have the intentions on being all in on something. "I'm going to go hog wild with your birthday party."

18. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions…"

A phrase which brings to mind the fact you can have good intentions but unless you act on them they are just words.

19. "I had to doctor order to get it ready to eat."

A phrase which brings to light the fact that the food you're about to was inedible a few moments ago.

20. "2 peas in a pod

A Southern way of saying two friends act and behave as if they were twins.

“Y’all come back now ya’ here.

21. “I brought you into this world.”

In other words, "I'm you're mother. I carried you for 9 months now listen to me."

22. “Not the sharpest knife in the drawer or variations thereof.”

A phrase which means you might be a little light when it comes to having enough common sense.

23. “Haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays’”

In other words you don't write, you don't call, you don't visit enough.It is a phrase always meant to make you feel guilty.

24. “He just talks to here himself/herself talk or He/she is blowing smoke out their a## or He/she is full or hot air.

All of these sayings have the same meaning. They all refer people who would rather talk and talk and talk instead of listening. There is an old saying, "God gave us two ears for a reason."

25. ”I‘ve known them since they were knee high to a grasshopper.”

A phrase which means the last time I saw you you were just a baby or small child, It is obvious the person has not visited in a while.

Some Bonus Sayings

“Mad As A Wet Hen”

I never seen a wet hen but apparently they get mad when they get wet. So when someone is as mad as wet hen then they must be really mad.

"More Nervous Than a Cat in a Room Full of Rocking Chairs"

A cat in a room of rocking chair would have to watch it's tail so it makes sense. The main point of using this verse is in telling someone they really look nervous.

"Tougher Than A $2 Steak"

I've never had a $2 steak but it must be tough. This saying is used to describe a person who is not a push over but someone who is tough in spirit.

Final Thoughts

The South is full of quaint phrases and idioms. These are only 28 Southern Phrases of the hundreds out there. I've tried my best to explain them to you. If you have a favorite please add it to the comments section of this article.

© 2020 Timothy Whitt


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